Ingvar Johansson wrote:
> Waclaw Kusnierczyk schrieb:
>> Ingvar Johansson wrote:
>>> Waclaw Kusnierczyk schrieb:
>>>> My point is that logic is a theory, and thus it is, in principle, as
>>>> good as any other theory, in that it may well be incorrect.
>>> I have once in this forum, in relation to statements like these,
>>> urged people to read Thomas Nagel's "The Last Word". Unhappily,
>>> Waclaw has not made it. So I guess I have to try to give a very
>>> condensed presentation of Nagel's central argument against complete
>> Unhappily (or not) I have joined this forum quite recently, and regret
>> I haven't picked up your argument from the archives.
>>> Compare the two propositions (a) <1+1=2> and (b) <I doubt that
>>> <1+1=2> is true>, and assume that some of your actions (e.g., as a
>>> teacher in a primary school) depends on whether you act on (a) or
>>> (b). Which one should you choose? I would choose (a), since as Nagel
>>> says: "The thought itself dominates all thoughts about itself." When
>>> considered seriously, the thought <1+1=2> *dominates* the thought <I
>>> doubt that <1+1=2> is true>. Or, with another formulation:
>>> Action-relevant skepticism cannot be produced entirely *from the
>>> outside*. But this is the way Waclaw and many others produce it.
>>> Here is the structure of the argument a second time; now applied to
>>> an example that I think figured in this forum not too long ago.
>>> Compare the two propositions (a) <if I jump from the 60th floor I
>>> will die> and (b) <I doubt that <if I jump from the 60th floor I will
>>> die> is true>, and assume that one of your actions depends on whether
>>> you act on (a) or (b). Which one should you choose? I would choose
>>> (a), since as Nagel says: "The thought itself dominates all thoughts
>>> about itself." When considered seriously, the thought <if I jump from
>>> the 60th floor I will die> *dominates* the thought <I doubt that <if
>>> I jump from the 60th floor I will die> is true>.
>> Fancy that: I compare <If I jump from the 60th floor I will land on
>> my feet and drink some beer> and <I doubt that <If I jump from the
>> 60th floor I will land on my feet and drink some beer> is true>, and,
>> following Nagel (according to you), I choose to jump (so I may never
>> post here again, good for you, we'll see).
>> I do not know what Nagel really meant;
> He is *not* saying that it is *always* the case that a thought dominates
> thoughts about itself; as you seem to interpret my presentation of him.
> Sometimes it does and sometimes, it doesn't. Everything depends on what
> the thought happen to be *about*. In your example (but not in mine), the
> thought in question does not dominate the thought that is about it.
>> for now, I have no other choice than to trust you. But perhaps what
>> 'the thought itself dominates all thoughts about itself' means only
>> that a thought about a thought can only follow that thought it is
>> about *in time*,
> No; see comment above.
>> which in itself does not seem to propose or impose any serious
>> criterion for choosing which thought to follow. Or maybe it means
>> that our minds are made so that in critical situations when we need to
>> make a quick decision, we follow simpler ('dominating') thoughts
>> because they are easier to process without invoking complicated
>> machinery of logical reflexive thinking.
> No; see comment above.
>> In the example you give, I could see your choice of (1) rather than
>> (2) as analogous to a simple reflex vs a reaction mediated by higher
>> levels of the central nervous system. And with this analogy, I could
>> read Nagel's words as
> Perhaps you could, but you shouldn't.
>> a statement about how we are: we process (and react according to)
>> thoughts before higher-order thoughts about the former.
>> (Which is quite arguable.)
>> In any case, I remain ignorant as to how your argument relates to my
>> (possibly naive) earlier statements.
> Statements are *about* something. Some statments are about other
> statements. Let me call them 'second order statements'. A second order
> statement can (but need not necessarily) have an interesting relation to
> what its first-order statement is about. Your view that "logic is a
> theory, and thus it is, in principle, as good as any other theory, in
> that it may well be incorrect" expresses in isolation only fallibilism
> with respect to logic - and that's fine for me. But you seem to use it
> to say that it is a mere convention whether or not a contradiction is
> true or false. In my opinion, the thought < 'p and not-p' is false >
> dominates (in Nagel's sense) the thought < I cannot firmly believe that
> 'p and not-p' is false > . (01)
I am not saying that there is a mere convention whether or not
contradiction is true or false. It may well be that there is no other
way. The only thing I was saying (intentionally) was that I accept the
view that it might be otherwise even though we can't imagine how this
could be. (02)
We started from the existence of God, and I agree with you that, given
the way we think we should think, God's existence is incoherent. We
seem to disagree elsewhere. (03)
> Ingvar J
>>> best wishes,
Wacek Kusnierczyk (06)
Department of Information and Computer Science (IDI)
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Sem Saelandsv. 7-9
tel. 0047 73591875
fax 0047 73594466
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